Analysisof Video and Review of Scholarship
Analysisof Video and Review of Scholarship
Oralexpression and communication are one of the most critical skills inthe life of an individual. In both professional and personal life,this skill is crucial as it influences the ability of a person tocontrol others. Communication is a way through which people canexpress ideas and opinions through both verbal and non-verbal means.While verbal communication verbalizes speech, non-verbalcommunication is a rather calm way of conveying ideas and expressionbecause expressions are used to relay thought. Communication byword-of-mouth comprises a small element of the overall communicationthat is usually more explicit than non-verbal signals. To understandpeople`s emotions, feelings, and thoughts, adept understanding ofnon-verbal communication is important.
Researchstudies have been able to point out that non-verbal communication isportrayed through cues such as tone, posture, touch, facialexpressions, gestures, paralanguage among others (Indriksons, 2015).This type of communication is argued to have become a replacement oforal communication in personal relations. Because of the importanceattached to communication in our daily interactions, there is aconstant need to familiarize ourselves with methods that can helpenhance how we express ourselves. This essay presents an analysis ofmy non-verbal communication and suggests ways to improve them to makemyself a better communicator.
Iconducted an observation on my non-verbal cues from a video recordingbetween myself and a colleague. For the purpose of this paper, I willrefer to the member as Mr. F. The video was recorded in an opennatural environment to make the interaction appear casual and normal.The running time of the video was fixed to be 15 minutes. This spacewas enough for me to analyze the interaction from the video and gaininsight into my overall non-verbal cues to inform my desire toself-improve. I observed non-verbal cues such as facial expressions,touching, body language, paralanguage and eye contact.
Perceptionsof non-verbal communication begin in the early years of childdevelopment. Infants communicate through non-verbal cues because theylack the ability to use speech (Indriksons, 2015). From this, theirfeelings and emotions can be understood. Impressions are impacted bythe way non-verbal cues are perceived and in this case, negative,positive or mixed impressions can be made.
Thiscements the old saying it matters less what you say, but how you sayit matters more. Faster communicators are perceived to be morecompetent while slow communicators are perceived to be lesscompetent. Equally, communicators who have the ability to vary theirpitch and tone actually during interactions appear more competentthan those without this ability (Rai & Rai, 2009). Additionally,a high pitch voice that is consistent throughout an interaction isconstrued to mean nervousness and tenseness. Strength and maturityare seen to be a character of individuals who maintain a low pitchvoice in their personal interactions. Speaking in a soft voiceimplies that the speaker is both timid and polite. Speaking in a loudvoice brings the speaker across as not only aggressive butdomineering.
Whetherintentional or unintentional, non-verbal communication can make thespeaker come out as offensive (Arnold & Boggs, 2011). If thelisteners are the kind of people who take everything personal, thespeaker will have destroyed relationships. Miscommunication not onlycomes from wrong verbalizations but also from wrong non-verbal cues.It is, therefore, critical that speakers are consciously aware of thenon-verbal cues they are conveying in interactions at all levels ofcommunication.
Paralanguageis a non-verbal way of communication that is utilized by speakersnecessarily to alter meanings and relay feelings or emotions(Indriksons, 2015). Paralanguage can be expressed through parameterssuch as tonal variations, pitch, speech rate, quality, and volume.This can either be consciously or unconsciously. There is a thin linebetween verbal communication and paralanguage because paralanguagecan be vocalized in examples such as "okay,“ "um,“ and"yes," among others. I observed from my interaction withMr. F that I was maintaining a uniform tone. My voice was soft, and Ihad several filler words such as "okay" and "yes". To Mr. F, this was a destructor in his flow of speech as he stoppedin speech each time I responded with a filler word. I used fillerwords to indicate that I was following the conversation.
Theflow of my statement was uneven but the volume audible enough. Ourintonations were different, and this made our interaction come acrossas though each one of us was aggressive and wanted to dominate theconversation. I believe our different cultural upbringing accountsfor this. According to Indriksons (2015), people from differentcultures have different intonations, and this is could be a hindrancein the face to face interactions. I felt the need to understand howto adopt a tone in conversations that make the communication even.
Facialexpressions are used to reveal emotions and feelings such as sadness,anger, and happiness. Facial expressions are important non-verbalcues especially in face to face communications as they indicate thecloseness that exists between the individuals engaged in aconversation (Abdin, n.d.). They are a subject of differentinterpretation by different cultures. Smiling in some cultures suchas Japanese can imply embarrassment or displeasure but in othercultures such as the western culture, laughing means happiness.Laughter can also be used to express happiness or distress dependingon the culture in question. Trompenaars theory of culturalorientations reveals that this can be because some cultures haveneutral adjustments to the expression of both emotions and feelings.
Myinteraction with Mr. F was meaningful as we laughed at our jokesabout life. I observed surprise in most of my facial expressions whenMr. F mentioned some things that I did not relate to. However, Ifound situations where my face was expressionless even when I wassupposed to respond naturally with a particular emotion or feeling. Irealized through this conversation that there is a need for me tounderstand facial expressions and how they can be used to enhanceface to face communications.
Fromthe video, I observed that even though I maintained an eye contactwith Mr. F when speaking and listening, there were situations when Iprolonged the eye contact into starring, and this was seen as a signof intimidation. I could tell this from the embarrassing look fromMr. F at a certain point. I felt as if I was invading his privacy andresorted to not looking directly at him when speaking or listening.This was not good for the conversation either as it made me appear tohave lost interest in the entire conversation.
Eyecontact is also quite as important in personal interactions. Lack ofeye contact in interactions makes them seem uncomfortable for theparties involved. Eye contact reveals that there is honesty,involvement and warmth in the conversation (Rai & Rai, 2009).Individuals who do not maintain an eye contact with the people theyare addressing are construed to be disinterested, shy or rude. Whileeye contact shows involvement, it should not be taken too far as thatwould mean starring. Starring can be intimidating and demeaning toindividuals involved in a conversation. It is important to rememberthat while maintaining an eye contact it should not be prolongedinto a stare.
Bodylanguage is used in conversations to enhance credibility to the wordsuttered by complementing them with an action. In personalconversations, body language should come out genuine for the argumentto be strengthened. Fake body language may make the argument comeacross as conflicting. Body language, also, regulates the flow of theconversation and influences its pace. The body language shouldindicate that an individual has finished talking and welcomeinterjection from the other parties involved in the conversation(Abdin, n.d.).
Ilearned from the video that my body language was misleading to Mr. Fbecause there were situations that I went silent to think about whatto say next but Mr. F took that as a sign that had finished sayingwhat I had to say, and it was now time for him to interject. Idisrupted him severally that I was still making a point. Also, I wasrestless whenever he talked for an extended period, and I observedmyself glancing sideways to show that I was losing interest inwhatever he was saying. This is a wrong non-verbal cue as it shows alack of commitment to the conversation and poor listening skills.There is a need to find a way of dealing with restlessness duringinteractions and enhancing active listening skills.
Touchinghas different views in different cultures. For instance, depending onwhere you are, the greeting can be perceived differently. However, inalmost all cultures, the handshake has become the most acceptable wayof conveying greetings when meeting people. A handshake can also beused as a sign of goodbye or a confirmation that what was beingtalked about has been agreed upon. In some cultures, such as theFrench, touching extends beyond the handshake and can include a kissor two on the cheeks. In American and Germany cultures, a firmhandshake is enough. Other cultures such as the Japanese do notpermit touching in public.
Inthe video, we started the conversation with a firm handshake, but thehandshake was missing at the end of the interview. The handshake isthe most valued non-visual cue as it indicates peace. If a handshakeis missing after a conversation, it might create a feeling thateither the conversation was not meaningful or the opinions expressedwere worthless. I observed this as a flaw in my non-verbalcommunication strategy that needed to be worked on.
Fromthe non-verbal cues flaws that this analysis has identified, I planto work on ways that will help me eliminate the bad practices andbetter the sound practices so that I can become an effectivecommunicator. I appreciate the fact that numerous non-verbal cues areused in my everyday interactions and that these non-verbal cuessometimes speak louder than the spoken word (Arnold & Boggs,2011). They have the power to leave either negative or positiveimpressions, and that depend entirely on how they are used.
Handshakesmake a positive first impression and are also a sign of good faithwhen used at the end of the interaction (Rai & Rai, 2009). I planon making it a habit of greeting people every time we meet. I willpractice to extend handshakes in a firm but still not in a way thatwill make those I greet to feel overpowered. Starting with the peopleclose to me as friends, I plan to practice making eye contact in amanner that will not force me to appear to be staring as this can beintimidating to those I am making eye contact with. Avoiding eyecontact reveals a lack of interest while prolonged eye contact is aflirtatious sign. I will work towards finding a balance between thetwo. To prevent the impression that I may be insincere or dishonestin my conversations, I will prioritize this non-verbal cue toincrease my credibility during discussions and arguments.
Bodylanguage is also a key area that I need to work seriously on. Iobserved that I am a bad listener, and interrupt conversationshalfway. I also lose interest quickly when I feel the other person istalking extensively, and I create a situation of disinterest bylooking sideways. This is not suitable for communication. I plan toexamine the body languages of effective communicators to improve onmy body language skills. I will also try to understand in subsequentinteractions the non-verbal cues of other people. This will help meunderstand the cultures of other people and their aspects ofcommunication. According to Hybels and Weaver (2007), effectiveinteraction between individuals from different cultural backgroundsis dependent on the understanding of language and their non-verbalcues. I will also take emotional intelligence tests to familiarizemyself with different facial expressions so that I do not use themwrongly in subsequent interactions.
Non-verbalcommunication plays a significant role in conversations, and there isa need for people to work on improving such skills because they havebeen proved through studies to matter even more than the spoken word.Understanding the cultures of different people is critical tounderstanding their feelings and emotions as they are revealedthrough non-verbal cues. Developing effective non-verbal skills cango a long way into enhancing interpersonal relationships. As aneffective communicator, there is a need to learn continuously thedifferent dynamics involved in this form of communication so as toarouse positive impressions among people we interact with daily.
Abdin,J. The Barriers of Communication & Guidance of EffectiveCommunication. SSRNElectronic Journal.http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1133343
Arnold,E. & Boggs, K. (2011). Interpersonalrelationships.St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier/Saunders.
Hybels,S. & Weaver, R. (2007). Communicatingeffectively (8thed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Indriksons,A. (2015). The Verbal and Non-verbal Communication in ProfessionalTraining of Border Guards. SIE,1,278. http://dx.doi.org/10.17770/sie2012vol1.48
Rai,U. & Rai, S. (2009). Effectivecommunication.Mumbai [India]: Himalaya Pub. House.